IMG_8066This integrated learning experience will engage students in research, discussion and drama activities surrounding the topic of continuity and changes within communities and how with this knowledge become active citizens in their local town. Year five students will engage in research and learning about colonial presence in the town of Burnie, how the environment has changed and development that has occurred (ACHHK094) (ACARA, 2015).

Students will be shown pictures of old buildings and houses in Burnie, some of which are still standing, they will be asked if they recognise any of them or know where they are. They will be asked a series of questions including ‘Why are buildings not made like this anymore?’

The class will participate in a walking tour of Burnie’s CBD and relevant surrounding streets. They will be asked to note any noticeable changes that they see and things they think are older and have been there for a long time. Open-ended questioning will be used to prompt students to think deeper about what they are seeing on the walking tour. They will then visit the Pioneer Village Museum and engage in the ‘Street Scape’ exhibition. Students will then complete an art activity comparing old artefacts and its modern day equivalent.

Upon return, students will be split up into groups to participate in a drama activity; the activity will explore a specific scenario to do with the town, its history and the different perspectives of certain people involved.

The scenario: The historical buildings in Burnie in the CBD are old and in the way, they should be knocked down.

The class will be split into groups, these groups will represent different people groups including: town councillors, builders for the removal of the buildings, builders against the removal, senior citizens, community members, the building owners, youth council representatives. The students will be given access to different items of clothing and accessories that will help with develop their ‘character’. The teacher will take on a role also as mayor or councilman/woman. The students are then required to come up with debate topics, based on their character that suits the scenario and to persuade the ‘mayor’ as to why/why not the buildings be pulled down. Claire (2005) states that learning through history students are able to view progress and progressive measures within society, and whether or not it has had positive outcomes.

Incorporating drama into historical learning allows for opportunities to engage with issues from the past, that they might otherwise have found difficult to through other means of teaching and learning (Hoodless, 2008). Using drama allows for opportunities for students to be able to internalise their thinking about an issue and provides another portal in which to communicate thoughts. This then leads to ideas, discussions and debates, which integrates with Civics and Citizenship education (Hoodless, 2003). Through placed-based activities like this provides students with the opportunity to learn through their local landscapes and allows a connection with the ‘place’ to be made (Beames, Higgins, Nicol, 2012). Higgins (2009) states that developing that connection with place allows for students to build relationships with the community, develop an understanding of the consequences of ones actions and the ‘ethic of citizenship’ (p. 48.).


Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015). Content descriptors. Retrieved from:

Beames, S., Higgins, P., Nicol, R. (2012). Learning outside the classroom. New York, NY: Routledge.

Claire, H. (2005). ‘Learning and teaching about citizenship through history in the primary years’ in Leading Primary History. London: The Historical Association.

Higgins, P. (2009). Into the big wide world: Sustainable experiential education for the 21st century. Journal of Experiential Education, 32(1), 44-60.

Hoodless, P. (2008). Teaching history in primary schools. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Hoodless, P. (Ed.) (2003). Teaching humanities in primary schools. Exeter: Learning Matters.